Looking for some comic book tips? Putting together a comic book can seem complicated, but it is ultimately a creative process, much like writing a novel. But coming up with interesting characters, a unique world, and a compelling storyline that will keep readers turning the page, anxious to see what happens next, can be challenging for even the most experienced writer.
Once an author has developed a comic book concept and begun to move the story into the form of a comic book, this transformation process from an idea to a finished book is where the magic really happens. Our top four comic book tips are perfect for authors who want to create a unique, exciting, and beautiful comic book that their readers will love.
1. Comic Book Tips: Use Color to Make an Impact
When a novel or even a nonfiction book is in the works, many authors rightly focus on the text content of the book. But comic book authors have the power of color to work with when they are designing the appeal of their book’s characters, comic book world, and overall appearance of the comic book.
Comic book creators can tap into every color of the rainbow to influence the way their readers perceive their comic’s storyline and characters, one of the most important comic book tips. A decision to utilize vivid, moody, or bright colors will prompt a specific emotional response in readers, and color choice can impact how the reader sees a character or an event. Color choice is also an excellent way to offer subtle clues about a setting, character, or action.
And since comics rely on visual cues over heavy text, compared to a novel, methods that allow an author to convey meaning without using words will create a richer experience for the reader.
- Color to Indicate Mood: Dark, moody hues of purple and blue are the perfect way to indicate a scene’s drama while one character can be shrouded in moody tones to cast a literal shadow over them, showing how they alone are feeling melancholy. In contrast, brighter colors or a brightening of darker colors can indicate a lifting of the spirits in a subliminal fashion.
- Location Cues with Color: Assigning a specific hue to each location allows the reader to shift the comic book context without having to waste dialogue with a character thinking or saying the location.
- Color to Show Time: Warm reds and yellows can be used to indicate the start of a new day while the blues and purples of twilight help readers to instantly recognize impending nightfall in the story. Growing shadows can show readers a day is passing while the unmistakable dark navy and black hues of the night let readers know the day has completely ended.
2. Comic Book Tips: Make Words Work
Another of our favorite comic book tips is to work out where dialog, thoughts, and narration work the best in your book. Even though comic books are primarily visual, the text plays a huge role in moving storylines forward, so choosing the right way to project the text in a story can make a difference in how the reader perceives a character, action, or the book as a whole.
Comic Book Tips — Speech Bubbles
When a character speaks, a comic book portrays that in a bubble with a tail that points to the speaker, so the reader knows who says what. Each panel of a comic book that includes dialog should have plenty of room to not make the bubbles appear crammed together.
Additionally, no more than two speakers should regularly have dialog bubbles on a single panel so there is enough room for artwork to show the reader the related action or visual cues that are so important to comic book depictions.
Comic Book Tips — Thought Bubbles
When an internal dialog occurs, characters are given a thought bubble to learn about it. Turning an internal struggle into a thought bubble is a great way for comic book authors to fill in gaps in a story, provide background information, or even set up a dramatic situation.
Thought bubbles are visually differentiated from speech bubbles by a string of smaller bubbles emanating from a character before the bubble “tail” is drawn.
Comic Book Tips — Narration
When a story’s action doesn’t come from a form of dialogue, authors place text in a box to indicate narration. Occasionally, a narration box can take up an entire panel, but that choice should be used sparingly because comic book readers are drawn to the visual style of comics that is heavy on graphics and stunning artwork and lighter on text.
Comic Book Tips — Text Style
The design of the text is also important when creating a comic. Choosing a text style specifically for all text that reflects the overall style or feel of the comic can create a consistent flow throughout the book. Selecting an additional font or variation on the main font style can give authors and artists an option to portray emotional dialog or thoughts with the bolder font style.
3. Comic Book Tips: Focus on Character Flair
One of the best comic book tips to give an author is to make sure that each comic hero has their own unique characteristics, action, or catchphrase that will become what they are known for. When comic book fans hear the phrase, “Avengers Assemble,” they already know that the cluster of heroes are on their way to join forces.
When the Hulk is ready to fight a battle, the catchphrase “Hulk Smash” is blurted out by the superhero in preparation for his transformation. And the Silver Surfer calls out, “To me, my board!” when he needs his iconic surfboard to materialize so he will be ready to fight a battle.
Each hero is known by their flair, whether it is a catchphrase they use, an object they are connected to or a specific action that defines who they are and how they live out their superhero actions.
Actions or Characteristics: Some superheroes have superhuman strength (The Hulk) or speed (The Flash). The ability to shapeshift, as Plastic Man or Ant-Man does, makes some heroes uniquely capable. And the combination of multiple strengths or powers into a highly powerful hero like Superman and Thor creates an unforgettable heroic character.
Other heroes own a tell-tale physical characteristic for which they are known, like the way Wonder Woman crosses her arms and assumes a wide stance. Superman’s up-stretched arm and clenched fist over the heart are also easily recognizable as the popular hero’s pre-flight stance behaviors.
Creating a unique action or characteristic can help your comic character become more memorable and also will give fans a behavior to copy as they cheer on your character’s journeys.
Catchphrase: The phrase a hero uses when he is in trouble, is calling out to a helper or object, or to gather his strength is often called his catchphrase. These easily recognizable phrases become a hero’s slogan or the motto that fans use to summon their favorite hero or villain.
Some famous catchphrases like Spiderman’s “With great power comes great responsibility” and Wolverine’s “I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do isn’t very nice” have come to define each hero throughout their adventures.
Objects: Many comic book characters are known for the objects they use to solve problems. Captain America uses his shield in his search for justice while Thor always keeps his hammer within reach when he is called to solve a problem.
4. Comic Book Tips: Use Visual Format to Drive Action and Engagement
Another one of the important comic book tips is that comic book authors can take advantage of ways that the comic book structure can help increase tension and excitement in the reader. As a highly visible medium, comics work especially well with the use of cliffhangers. At the end of a scene, a close-up of a character’s shocked expression rather than dialogue with another character or even an internal dialogue can propel the reader toward the next page.
At the end of a chapter, leaving an unanswered question, placing an ominous color cue along with a portion of a viewpoint can serve as a cliffhanger, encouraging the reader to turn the page. Authors can also choose to end a book on a thrilling cliffhanger by leaving a character in a perilous situation or with a hint of danger or change on the horizon. Serial comics often create a signature cliffhanger so readers can anticipate when problems will be resolved.
An excellent addition to the cliffhangers used throughout the course of a comic is a “splash page,” a full- or half-page image immediately following a cliffhanger page that is intended to increase the drama by surprising the reader, which is another important comic book tips.
Comic Book Tips — Creating a Comic Book that Stands Out
Crafting a comic that readers will love means looking at ways to develop a unique set of characters and an interesting world and making an impact with the visuals you create for your comic.
The final step in making sure your comic book stands out is partnering with a trusted printer like Dazzle Printing. Make your dreams of becoming a comic book author a reality with Dazzle Printing’s quality printing so your book will look just as amazing as your comic hero.